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Texas 2020 Elections

Texas voters are as split as the Senate on Supreme Court opening, UT/TT Poll finds

When it comes to filling a spot on the U.S. Supreme Court, Texas voters are split the same way the U.S. Senate is split — along party lines, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

The U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, U.S., November 30, 2018.

Texas voters’ opinions about confirming an appointee to the U.S. Supreme Court mirror those of the partisans in government, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

Almost half — 47% — said the Senate should vote on President Donald Trump’s appointee to the court, while 41% said the Senate should only vote if Trump wins reelection in November.

The numbers beneath that result show the sharp partisan divide, which mirrors positions taken on the confirmation proceedings by Democratic and Republican leaders in the Senate.

Among Democratic registered voters, 77% said the Senate should only vote on the confirmation if Trump is reelected. Among Republicans, 81% agreed with the idea of voting on the nominee without that condition. Self-identified independent voters were split, with 35% saying the Senate should vote, and 38% saying that vote should only take place if the president wins another term.

“Ultimately, this is a purely partisan political fight. There doesn’t seem to be any higher principle operating here,” said Joshua Blank, research director of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin. “These results speak directly to the argument that Republicans have made, that Democrats would do the same thing if they were in the same situation.”

Trump appointed Amy Coney Barrett to serve in the place opened by the death of Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after the survey was underway, so Barrett’s name was not included in the question. The Senate Judiciary Committee was scheduled to start confirmation hearings on Barrett’s nomination on Monday.

Most voters said they were following the efforts to fill Ginsburg’s seat, 48% “extremely closely,” and 34% “somewhat closely.”

More than a quarter of Texas voters — 27% — said the Supreme Court and the judiciary are the government branch they trust the most, second to the president and the executive branch, at 29%, and well ahead of Congress and the legislative branch, at 13%. Nearly a third registered no preference.

The responses reveal large partisan differences. Among Democrats, the courts are the most trusted branch (31%), followed by Congress (24%) and the executive branch (4%). Among Republicans, the presidency and the executive were most trusted (55%), followed by the courts (25%) and the legislative branch (4%).

The University of Texas/Texas Tribune internet survey of 1,200 registered voters was conducted from Sept. 25 to Oct. 4 and has an overall margin of error of +/- 2.83 percentage points. Numbers in charts might not add up to 100% because of rounding.

Disclosure: The University of Texas at Austin has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. Find a complete list of them here.

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